Thailand Property Lawyer

Panuwat Krishnamara

Panuwat Krishnamara (Por) serves as our esteemed Legal Consultant specializing in property services. He holds a law degree from the distinguished Thammasat University International Program in Bangkok, with a background enriched by international education. Por is fluent in both English and Thai and facilitates seamless communication and consultancy services for our diverse clientele and local government agencies.

Por possesses extensive experience in the drafting of legal documents, including but not limited to land transfer and ownership in Thailand, Sale and Purchase Agreements, Thai Wills and various other contractual agreements. He has undergone specialized training as a standby court interpreter, proficiently translating legal intricacies between Thai and English, ensuring clarity and accuracy in legal proceedings.

In addition to his proficiency in property law, Por has demonstrated his expertise in the realm of personal data protection policies (PDPA). He has contributed to the review and amendment of PDPA policies to ensure compliance with relevant guidelines, exemplifying his dedication to upholding legal standards and safeguarding client interests.

Por collaborates closely with our seasoned Property Department team, offering invaluable consultation and guidance to our esteemed clientele. He adeptly represents clients before relevant Thai authorities, advocating for their interests with professionalism and skill while ensuring expert navigation through legal processes.

With his comprehensive legal acumen, linguistic proficiency, and unwavering commitment to client satisfaction, Por is an indispensable asset to Siam Legal, exemplifying excellence in legal consultancy within the realm of property services.

Methasit Chantranont (Ball)

Methasit Chantranon (Ball) obtained his law degree from Ramkhamhaeng University, demonstrating a commitment to academic excellence and legal scholarship. His comprehensive education serves as a solid foundation for his specialized knowledge in property law and related legal matters.

With 9 years of proven track record in conducting property due diligence, Ball provides invaluable insight and guidance to clients regarding building control conditions, relevant government regulations, and laws governing property transactions in Thailand. He has effectively represented well-known wholesale and retail business companies, offering tailored legal advice and solutions to meet their specific needs and objectives.

Ball's proficiency extends to the drafting and review of various legal documents, including sale and purchase agreements, lease agreements, and other contracts related to property acquisition and disposal. His meticulous attention to detail ensures the accuracy and legality of these agreements, safeguarding the interests of our clients.

Moreover, Ball is adept at preparing the necessary documentation for application or registration processes, streamlining real estate transactions, and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements. He serves as a trusted representative, liaising with relevant authorities across the country to facilitate smooth and efficient property transactions on behalf of our clients.

With his breadth of experience, legal acumen, and dedication to client satisfaction Ball stands as a fundamental member of our Property Department, providing unparalleled legal guidance and support to our valued clientele.

Sahathorn Dhuvaphark (Boss)

Boss earned his Bachelor of Law (LLB) from Thammasat University's International Program in Business Law and graduated with distinction, an accolade that highlights his dedication to legal excellence and expertise in business-related legal matters.

Boss has established himself as a valuable asset to our legal team. One of the most important skills he brings to the table is his practical expertise in drafting and meticulously reviewing contracts, a task that demands precision and attention to detail. Moreover, Boss has become a key ally to our seasoned lawyers, contributing his insights to and assisting in the formulation of various legal strategies. This firsthand exposure to complex legal proceedings has honed his skills and equipped him with the practical knowledge necessary to excel in his role.

However, Boss's proficiency extends beyond just contract drafting; he possesses a keen understanding of both legal and business matters, allowing him to provide comprehensive advice and a unique perspective to clients. Whether analyzing legal complexities or devising business strategies, Boss consistently demonstrates his ability to navigate multifaceted issues with precision and professionalism.

In his capacity as a legal consultant specializing in property law, Boss offers invaluable expertise in a variety of real estate transactions and property-related legal matters. His specialization in business law further enhances his skillset, enabling him to provide holistic legal solutions tailored to meet the unique needs of clients in the real estate sector. Clients can trust in Boss’s ability to provide expert guidance and navigate even the most complex legal challenges with confidence and acumen.

Below are some of the questions frequently asked by foreigners who are looking to acquire land, houses, villas, or condominium units. Por discusses some of the various options available to foreigners who are interested in buying real property in Thailand.

What are the restrictions on owning land in Thailand?

A foreigner or a foreign juristic entity (such as a company, foundation, or association of which the majority of shares are held by non-Thai persons) is prohibited by Thai law from owning land in Thailand.

What are the restrictions on buying a house or other construction on land?

According to the Thai Land Code, any foreign party, be it a company or individual, may own a house or other construction built on either:

  • Land that belongs to a Thai national
  • Land leased from a Thai national

In practice, however, this is not always the case. For example, a foreigner is legally allowed to file for a building permit to construct a house, but in practice, it is also required that this foreigner has their name in a yellow housebook, though this is not stated in the law.

In my experience, a significant number of authorities (e.g. land offices or Bor Tor or District Offices) like to make it difficult for a foreign party to hold the ownership of a building in their jurisdiction, especially if it’s a foreign company. Generally, their reasoning for this, they claim, is to prevent the party from circumventing the law regarding foreign ownership of the land. This is another reason why it’s always important to have a knowledgeable property lawyer on your side when dealing with the government.

What are the ways for a foreigner to own land in Thailand?

While there is a restriction on land ownership in Thailand for foreigners, there are some ways for foreigners or foreign corporations to acquire property without circumventing Thai law. Each option has its pros and cons, and the outcome of each option may vary on a case-by-case basis, depending upon the circumstances surrounding the foreign party. Here I will provide general information for each option, but specific advice on any particular matter is context-sensitive and should be discussed in person with a Thai lawyer.

1. Set up a Thai company to buy the property and register the ownership of the land

One option for a foreigner to own land and/or constructions is setting up a Thai Limited Company that complies with the law and conducts actual business. A foreigner can purchase a piece of land that will be owned by the Thai Limited Company, provided the majority of the company shares are Thai-owned. To be considered as a Thai national company and own land, the company needs to have at least 51% of its total shares held by Thai nationals and a greater or equal number of Thai shareholders than foreign national shareholders.

In this scenario, a foreign owner may have some control of the company and freehold ownership of the land. This is a costly and time-consuming option as it entails a lot of expenses and papers to sign. The expenses and costs involved can be onerous and it can be burdensome over a long period of time because of annual financial taxes.

Additionally, if the company is not going to engage in the conduct of actual business and is established with the sole aim of purchasing property, this may be deemed as an attempt to circumvent the law regarding the restriction of foreigners purchasing land. If found guilty, the offending party may face serious consequences. My advice is to only consider this route if a company conducting ongoing and legitimate business will hold the title of any land.

2. Through Leasehold

As per the Thailand Civil and Commercial Code, a long-term lease is another alternative legal option for foreigners to, for a certain period of time, legally occupy and utilize land for residential purposes.

One challenge with lease agreements is when termination of the tenancy happens, such as:

  • During a breach of contract
  • When the lessee leaves prior to the agreed date
  • When the lessee has broken a specific rule that was mentioned in the agreement.

In such a case, the lease agreement can be terminated, and the lessee may not be able to appropriately collect their security deposit or the remaining rent that he/she has paid the lessor in advance.

Another downside of this option is that the property lease agreement in Thailand is terminated upon the death of the lessee because a lease right is an exclusive right given by the lessor to a specific lessee, and is thus a personal right. However, the lessor and the lessee can indicate in the agreement that the lease right can be inherited. Without a clear statement to this effect, the lease right cannot be inherited and is extinguished when the lessee passes away.

3. With Permission Granted from the BOI

A foreign juristic entity with substantial investments benefiting the Thai economy can buy land if it obtains investment promotion from the office of the Board of Investments (BOI Thailand). However, this is only allowed provided the land is used for the promoted business and the company has more than 49% shares held by non-Thai national(s) or has more foreign national shareholders than Thai ones. The total land area can be a maximum of 5 rai for offices and 10 rai for personal residences.

4. By virtue of the Act on Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand

A foreign juristic entity will be entitled to own land if it operates its business within an estate or location of an Industrial Estate, which must be approved and supervised by the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand under Section 44 of the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand Act. (See Foreign Ownership of Industrial Land)

5. By Virtue of the Petroleum Act

A foreign juristic entity may have special privileges and exemptions for land ownership granted for the duration of their business in Thailand under Section 65 of the Petroleum Act if it receives concessions for oil and/or gas operation throughout the time of the concession period.

What is the maximum length of time for a leasehold under Thai law?

A long-term lease will allow you to use, occupy, and enjoy a property for a certain period of time. Thai law allows foreigners to lease real property in Thailand, such as land, for a maximum duration of 30 years. Leases may be extended for up to 60 years after the expiration of the original 30-year agreement, e.g. 30 + 30 + 30 years. But common lease extension terms, often seen in Thai lease agreements are, in my view, likely unenforceable. In the event that the lessor/landlord does not voluntarily honor any clause regarding the renewal of the lease upon the expiration of the first lease term, the lessee will have no choice but to attempt to exercise their right in court. However, it cannot be said with any certainty that the judgment of the court at that point in time will be in favor of the lessee.

If owners decide to sell property, what are the property taxes and fees?

The total government fee is around 3-5% of the declared purchase price or the government’s appraisal, whichever is higher. The breakdown of the taxes are as follows:

  • Withholding tax of the Seller on a progressive rate approximately 1 - 4% of the government appraisal value
  • Transfer fee at the rate of 2% of the government appraisal value
  • *Specific Business Tax at the rate of 3.3% of the declared sale and purchase price or the government appraisal value depending on whichever is higher.
  • **Stamp duty at the rate of 0.5% of the declared sale and purchase price or the government appraisal value depending on whichever is higher.
  • Some small administrative fees
  • *Specific Business Tax will apply only if the seller has held the ownership of the property for less than five (5) years or has their name in the household registration (bluebook) for less than one (1) year.
  • **Stamp duty will apply only if the seller has held the ownership of the property for more than five (5) years or has their name in the household registration (bluebook) for more than one (1) year; and
  • The ownership and transfer of land, houses, or condominium units must be registered at the Land Office upon the payment of all transfer fees, taxes, and stamp duty.

Siam Legal Property Services

Siam Legal International offers property law services with offices in all major provinces in Thailand, including Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket. Our firm is staffed with foreign and Thai lawyers strategically assigned around Thailand. You can visit our head office on the 18th Floor of Two Pacific Place, Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok. If you have any property questions or issues that need to be addressed, use the form below to contact us.

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Local Office Numbers:
Bangkok: 02-254-8900
Phuket: 084-021-9800
Chiang Mai: 053-818-306
Pattaya: 084-021-9800
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Australia: 028-015-5273
Thailand: +66 2254-8900